Topshop founder Sir Ralph Halpern dies

Topshop was founded by Ralph Halpern and was a leading force in UK retail for many years. The photo shows him visiting a polo tournament in England in 1991.

Sir Ralph Halpern, former CEO of the Burton Group and founder of the fashion chain Topshop, has died at the age of 83. Financial Times reports. Best known as a retail magnate, Halpern was one of the leading forces in British retail in the 1970s and 1980s. Halpern started his career at Selfridges Department Store.

From 1979 to 1991 he was CEO of the Burton Group, which he developed into a retail empire. Brands from Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins and Evans to Miss Selfridge and Burton have gathered under the group’s umbrella. Sometimes Debenhams department store and luxury department store Harvey Nichols also belonged to the Burton Collection. At the relatively young age of 50, Halpern resigned from Burton’s board of directors after earnings warnings and did not hold senior positions at major publicly traded retailers.

After leaving the Burton Group, Debenhams was dismantled and operated as a separate publicly traded company, while the Burton Group’s name was changed to Arcadia. Then both – Debenhams were acquired by private equity investors, but later re-listed, and the Arcadia Group by the family of well-known businessman Sir Philip Green. Arcadia and Debenhams filed for bankruptcy in early 2020, and after the acquisitions of Boohoo (Debenhams) and Asos (Arcadia), they became almost exclusively online.

During the Halpern period, Marks & Spencer, C&A, British fashion department stores and a number of small, independent fashion stores, dominated the island’s mainstream fashion trade. Next and Primark were still in their infancy and names like H&M and Zara were not in British fashion retail yet.

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Sir Ralph Halpern belongs to the group of retailers who have made a huge difference to British retail over the past two decades and modernized it. This generation of notable entrepreneurs included Sir Terence Conran (Habitat), who died in 2020, and Sir Richard Greenberry, who, during his time on the Board, led Marks & Spencer to become the UK’s highest-paid retailer with annual profits in excess of £1. sterling. 1 billion. Also Arthur Ryan, founder of the fashion retailer Primark, and David Jones, who brought Next back to success. They died in 2019.

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